The contrasting reality of HIV/AIDS
In Burkina Faso, as in most Sub-Saharan African countries the prevalence of HIV/AIDS infection remains relatively high, though fortunately the rate is falling. But Burkina is one of the most affected countries in West Africa.
UNICEF has been putting significant technical and financial resources into the fight against HIV in Burkina Faso. UNICEF uses as its programme base international agreements and human rights conventions, particularly the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
In 2004 WHO and UNAIDS estimated the infection rate in Burkina at 2.3% among adults. This rate is down from a high of 6.5% in 2001. With concerted effort, by the end of 2002 the rate had fallen to 4.2%; and to 2.7% in 2003. Thus, enormous progress has been made in a very short time. In 2003, 25,000 new HIV infections were recorded, 50% of them among young people aged 15-24. Women are the most affected among the population aged 15-39. UNAIDS reports that an estimated 80,000 children were orphaned by AIDS by 2004.
At the end of 2005, estimated adult HIV prevalence rate (15 + years old) is 2.0. The estimated number of HIV-infected pregnant women ins 15,000 (source : Children and Aids, a stocktaking report, UNICEF/UNAIDS/WHO, January 2007).
The rapid spread of the disease, especially among adolescents, and young girls in particular, indicates a likely an increase in the coming years in the number of children infected during pregnancy, labour or breastfeeding. This will increase the burden on an already poor health system.
In accordance with UNICEF’s global campaign “Unite for Children Unite Against AIDS”, UNICEF’s programnes focus on: preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV; providing pediatric treatment; preventing infection among adolescents and young people; and protecting and supporting children affected by HIV/AIDS, particularly orphans and other vulnerable children.